“The rising frequency of water-related disasters in our region has compelled us to respond with coordination and cooperation but understandably there is a wide variation in the degree and quality of response of individual nations” - Mr U Kyaw Myo, Deputy Minister for Transport and Communications, Myanmar.
Myanmar for the first time hosted the 27th UNESCO-IHP Regional Steering Committee (RSC) meeting for Asia and the Pacific during 29-31 October 2019 in Naypyidaw. With participation by members of UNESCO’s Water Family from 17 countries - from Pakistan in the west to the Solomon Islands in the east - this year event marked the second gathering of the RSC since the decision was taken in Manila in 2017 to expand the Committee’s reach from its original focus on Southeast Asia and the Pacific to the entire region.
Addressing the meeting on behalf of the host country, the Myanmar Deputy Minister for Transport and Communications, Mr U Kyaw Myo, took note that IHP has leveraged continuous progress by emphasizing the role of water resources management for achieving sustainable development and adapting the hydrological sciences to cope with climate change and the environmental conditions within the framework of the 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG6 on clean water and sanitation.
Chaired by Dr Yasuto Tachikawa of Japan on behalf of the Committee’s outgoing Chair, Dr Ignasius Sutapa of Indonesia; the meeting saw the reinforcement of water science cooperation across the region, this time welcoming the participation by two new countries from Central Asia: Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
This year’s RSC meeting was held in association with discussions on the development of the new UNESCO IHP Strategy and the development of the 1st and 2nd volumes of the Catalogue of Hydrologic Analysis (CHA), a new regional cooperative publication series. In addition, a dedicated session on the management and mitigation of water-related disaster risk in Myanmar took place during the first day of the event, supplemented by a technical field visit to key water installations in the Naypyidaw area.
Dr Zhongbo Yu of China was elected as the new Chair of the RSC for the period 2020-2021, replacing Dr Ignasius Sutapa of Indonesia. Next year’s event will be held in October 2020, hosted by Vietnam in the country’s capital city Hanoi.